Tehran, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Iranian authorities have imposed rules on wearing masks in public amid a spike in Covid-19 infections which saw the country register a record number of daily coronavirus deaths on Sunday.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 163 coronavirus deaths had been reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 11,571.
The previous highest numbers of deaths recorded in one day were on 29 June with 162 and 4 April with 158.
Iran has been the worst-affected nation in the Middle East by the outbreak.
The country had managed to reduce its daily rate of infections and fatalities between mid-April and early May but these figures have rebounded since then.
There were 2,560 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, of which 1,295 patients had to be hospitalized, according to Lari.
This has brought the total number of Covid-19 infections in the country to 240,438.
The Iranian government announced on Sunday that mask-wearing is mandatory in public and has launched a campaign in the last week to raise awareness of the importance of people covering their nose and mouth.
Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchí said that workers in government offices, banks and public transport will be responsible for implementing the measure.
The country’s president Hassan Rouhani has said that no citizens will be served in government offices without a mask.
Harirchí said on Sunday that officials will be sent home if they are not wearing an appropriate facial covering.
He added that the use of masks has doubled in recent days in Tehran, which has been put into a state of alert.
Employees at several shops and supermarkets in the capital were wearing masks on Sunday but were not asking customers to put them on.
A total of 18 of Iran’s 31 provinces were in a state of alert or a red state.
Harirchí said that in some areas restaurants, cafeterias, cinemas, theaters and mosques have been closed and that in others events such as cultural and religious ceremonies, weddings and funerals have been canceled. EFE-EPA